Navaratri: Time for an Inward Journey

Greetings and well wishes to all the readers on the auspicious and holy time of Navaratri.
In the Hindu tradition, Navaratri is a time for self-referral and returning to our source. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit; Nava meaning Nine and Ratri meaning night. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of the feminine aspect of the Divine as Shakti are extolled. The seeker gets back to the true Source through fasting, prayer, silence, and meditation. Night or ratri brings rejuvenation. It gives relief at the three levels of our existence – physical, subtle, and causal. While fasting detoxifies the body, silence purifies the speech and brings rest to the chattering mind, and meditation takes one deep into one’s own being.
There is a story in ancient scriptures when Mother Divine destroyed the demon Mahishasura who had assumed the form of a bull. Mahishasura  represents dullness, small-mindedness and inertia.  Only the Mother Divine could destroy this demon with the collective energies of the Holy Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (representing Creation, Maintenance, and Renewal). Just as a baby takes nine months to be born, the Divine Mother took nine days to rest, and what was born on the tenth day was pure love and devotion with which She conquered the demon of inertia and dullness.

“There are 64 divine mother impulses which govern the subtle creation. These are responsible for restoring all earthly and spiritual benefits. They are simply part of one’s awakened consciousness. These nine nights are celebrated to rekindle those divine impulses and celebrate the innermost depth of our lives.” says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The nine days of Navaratri are also an opportunity to rejoice in the three primordial qualities that make up the universe. Though our life is governed by the three gunas, we seldom recognize and reflect on them. The first three days of Navaratri are attributed to Tamas, the second three to Rajas and the last three to Sattva. Our consciousness sails through the Tamas and Rajas and blossoms in the Sattva of the last three days. Whenever Sattva dominates in life, victory follows. The essence of this knowledge is honored by celebrating the tenth day as Vijayadashami. Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated all over India to symbolize the victory of good over evil.

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